A coalition of legal groups including the Community Legal Assistance Society, PIVOT, the BC Civil Liberties Association and Westcoast LEAF have issued a report outlining justice reform priorities for BC’s “badly broken” system. Outlined priorities for the Attorney General and Solicitor General of BC addressing family law include:
- Increase funding for family, criminal, mental health, poverty, and refugee legal aid, eliminating the Legal Services Tax for legal services delivered to low to middle income earners
- Working with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to ensure it acts in accordance with s.2(c) of Child, Family and Community Service Act re providing support for families instead of separating them (including supporting mothers with disabilities to parent)
- Collaborating with federal counterparts to develop a Unified Family Court
- Reducing wait times for family justice counselors to conduct psychological assessments of parents
- Developing binding and consistent standards governing all assessors in the preparation of reports under s.211 of the Family Law Act, including limiting the use of psychological testing in parenting assessments and mandating consideration of family violence. Further, ensure that all assessors have comprehensive and community-informed training on the dynamics of family violence.
- Altering the length of cohabitation before a couple may be deemed “spouses” to align with parallel provisions in BC’s Family Law Act and other provincial legislation.
Read the full report here.